Children are not mature enough to decide when they need to go to bed. Bedtime is the decision for the parent. Parent-that's the person in the household who is the boss. They run the show; they make the rules. Their word is the law. Yesterday, I was teaching and preaching my heart out in chapel trying to use the Bible and my own words and to explain the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, and students were going to sleep. And I don't mean dosing off. I mean, sleeping. Now I know there could be a medical reason for this behavior, but I don't think that was the case in every situation. Third, fourth, and fifth graders still need a bedtime. Their bodies need rest. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children aged 6-12 years should regularly sleep 9-12 hours per 24 hours, and teenagers aged 13-18 years should sleep 8-10 hours per 24 hours. Look, I know what it is like to parent a hard child with issues, and Pam and I knew our challenging son needed rest. For years and years, I put my son to bed. It was HIS bedtime and off to bed he went. Yes, I am talking about brushing teeth, changing into PJs, and saying prayers. And then I would read to him-yes, I said, 'read to him'-until he fell asleep. I know you are saying, 'you don't know my son'-actually, I do. My son was wound tight, and I used stories to unwind him. I would read and read until he was asleep.
Adults aren't parenting today; children are being raised in parentless households. With passion, I told the students they needed to put themselves to bed if they were not given a bedtime. Children need boundaries. Mom and dad, I can't imagine paying for an education so my child can sleep their way through another school day. And then I wonder why they are having problems with obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. Adults, you know how much you need rest to function well-how much more for a body that is still growing and developing. Take away the screens and put your child to bed and see how much better things get at the house. Perhaps I need to develop a smartphone APP to help parents determine the correct bedtime for children.